>Season Preview 09-10

>Arsenal

Despite selling some big name players and only bringing Vermaelen, Arsenal are possibly stronger this year than last. They will get a full season of Arshavin, Walcott, Eduardo and Van Persie start the season fit and some of the young players have been blooded in what was a tough season. I didn’t see too much of Arshavin but he is the link man Nasri is yet to be. With some gut in the middle of defence or midfield, they will be in the Top 4 again.

Aston Villa

Losing Laursen and Barry will hurt Villa. Laursen was not only an old head but he chipped in with plenty of goals. That said, selling Zack Knight might actually strengthen them at the back. The excellent Beye has come in from Newcastle and Downing will add what he has for England. Very little especially when they already have Young and Agbonlahor to actually beat someone. They still lack a goalscorer but if the defence holds firm, they will score and stay in the top 6.

Birmingham City

They will be only looking to stay in 17th place come the end of the season. Signing an unknown South American striker must make Steve Bruce roll his eyes. The rest of the team is functional and for a purpose. Looking for 5 across the middle away from home and scrapping enough home wins to stay up.

Blackburn Rovers

Losing Santa Cruz wont affect Rovers at all. McCarthy and Roberts will play the quick, strong man upfront routine while the midfield plays box-to-box for 90mins to keep Rovers in between 12th and 14th for most of the season.

Bolton Wanderers

Similar to Rovers but lacking the attacking pace or flair, Bolton will struggle to get out of the bottom six all season but should have enough defensive brunt and midfield drive to get the dead ball goals. Won’t be pretty.

Burnley

I like small teams getting up there and I must confess I didn’t see much of them in the Championship. They will struggle from a lack of goals if not heart. Playing passing football is a recipe for admiration but ultimate disaster. Burnley might stay up but it’s unlikely.

Chelsea

Ancelotti may have won the Charity Shield but it’s still a matter of time before he gets fired. I give him one and a half seasons. What might save him is the relative weaknesses of their main opponents, Hanging onto Carvalho is an excellent move and with the strength down the spine from Cech to Drogba and in depth, they will be close this year especially if Essien is fit for 38 games. Champions. (Jesus I hated typing that) 

Everton

Tougher season for Everton coming up. No one of note has come in and Lescott is going to leave. If Yakubu and Arteta can get back to old form, Cahill stays fit and Fellini continue his promise, they will continue to be tough to beat and able to nick good wins away from home. Top 8 but not Europe.

Fulham

Excellent season for Hodgson last season, building a solid defence, creative midfield and squeezing goals out of second-rate strikers. The second season will be harder especially with the European distraction but they’ll still finish comfortably in the top 12.

Hull City

Relegated

Liverpool

The loss of Alonso and his replacement with Aquilani weakens Liverpool but they might now be able to call on Torres for a full season to feast on the crosses from the world greatest ever right back, £368m Glen Johnson. They will remain defensively strong across the back 6, if Gerrard can avoid a dust-up and Ryan Babel actually gets better at some point, they should have enough to be right at the top of the league as the season draws in.

Manchester City

Hughes has to start well and he has started well by buying well. His attack is undoubtedly strong having ridiculous amount of options up front. His great problem may be keeping them happy. But scoring goals was never their problem last year. The defence has been addressed with Barry coming in to sweep and Toure will allow Dunne to focus on man-to-man management. With Ireland and Barry flanked by Robinho and SWP, Man City will move up, finishing in the top 6 which wont be enough to save Hughes from the Chairman unless he is busy stoning some women.

Manchester United

Curious summer from Fergie. Losing Ronaldo will dent them but the cock wanted to leave so what can you do. However they have no replacement and have bought nothing of note. Losing out on Benzema will have hurt and Owen must be the poor fall back there. I am sure he will score a few though. Rooney must stay fit all season. Winning the games against Liverpool must be priorities but there is a feeling that while this team might be competitive in the league, Europe is beyond them. Third.

Portsmouth

They seem to have sold everything except their shit stadium this summer. James has been a star for the last few years but that is also a measure of the team. That defence has lost £869m Johnson, has an ageing Campbell and a want-away Distin to hold it together. Kranjcar is a talent but the loss of Crouch and Defoe means he have a frustrating season as the team drop into the Championship.

Stoke City

Visibly rubbish, the new Bolton, Stoke stayed up by 11pts last season and with the new influx of Championship teams, they should hold it together again through hard-work and route 1.

Sunderland

A new decent manager with defensive nous, Bruce should get Sunderland moving up and towards the top 10. Bent will score goals off Jones, Richardson will be fit and has competition from Cana, yet another former Marseille captain to play in the North-East.

Spurs

Harry throws round yet more cash for players and players he knows and trusts. Its worked before and will continue to as he adds some solid Premier League players to an already good squad. Getting rid of the likes of lazy Zokoro will help. If King and Woodgate stay fit, the season will look promising but as usual Spurs will beat a big team 4-3 in the last minute while finishing for 8th.

West Ham

Can’t stand a lot about the club but Zola is a man to respect. Taking on a young, talented squad and a near bankrupt club, he took the club within 2 pts of Europe. With good young players like Noble and Ashton (if fit) he might just get them back to the same sort of place. 10th

Wigan Athletic

Bruce performed miracles making a player out of Titus Bramble. Whelan made a better decision than Chris Hutchings even if it is a mild risk. Martinez though should do a solid job even if he has plumped for some Championship players to keep the team up. He should do too finishing a competent 14th.

Wolves

Well its Mick McCarthy so you know it won’t be pretty and it will be last-gasp. His team scored goals in the Championship but will find it tougher in the Premier League. He does have pace and nous up front and if his teams keep the defence together, he might be able to get this team to 14th by Xmas and 17th by the end of the season.

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